Phoenix Suns Champion Early Childhood Education with $2.6 Million Donation to Phoenix Head Start Program

The Phoenix Suns today completed one of the biggest assists in franchise history with a $2.6 million donation to fund the City of Phoenix’s Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early childhood development and support services for at-risk children and families.  An event to commemorate the donation to Head Start was held today at Byron A. Barry Elementary School in west Phoenix and was attended by Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver, Phoenix City Council members Michael Nowakowski and Laura Pastor, plus Phoenix city management, Head Start representatives and families.  The Suns are the first professional sports team to assist Head Start, which was founded in 1965 and is the biggest preschool program in the country.  Head Start has proven to be one of the most successful social and educational investments. 

Video and images from today’s event can be downloaded HERE.

“For more than 50 years, our organization has been dedicated to assisting those in need but today represents one of our most significant and impactful contributions to the community,” said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver.  “My mom was a kindergarten teacher and I fully understand the tremendously positive impact that early learning can have during a child’s formative years.  The city’s Head Start program is integral in providing resources for kids and families that need it the most and creates opportunities to develop a foundation that leads to long-term success.“

The City of Phoenix Head Start Birth to Five Program provides comprehensive early childhood development and family support services to income eligible families with children ages 0-5 and at risk pregnant women.  The program has an emphasis on school readiness through early learning opportunities that promote strong child outcomes in the areas of social and emotional development, language, cognitive, early reading, science, math and physical development.  Reaching far beyond the scope of school readiness, Head Start also provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition and services to participating families.

“Today, we have so much data about the importance of early childhood development, like the fact that more than 90 percent of a child’s brain develops from birth to age four,” said Michael Nowakowski, City of Phoenix Councilman for District 7.  “The City of Phoenix Head Start collaborates with nine educational service providers and serve over 3,451 children under the age of five during these crucial years of development.  This donation from the Phoenix Suns will allow the success and reach of this program to go so much further.”

Recognizing the greater impact that can be achieved through teamwork, the Suns have launched the #RiseTogether campaign with the goal of uniting and lifting the community to help make the Valley and Arizona a better place to live.  As part of the #RiseTogether campaign, the Suns are funding and collaborating with vested community partners in education, social services, special needs, hunger-relief, housing, healthcare, elderly care, and public safety to address needs, engender positive change and elevate the quality of life in our community.  In January, the Suns committed to providing $10 million in community benefits to local non-profits and city programs as part of their partnership with the City of Phoenix.  Since its inception in 1988, Phoenix Suns

Charities has been focused on making our community a better place through its mission of supporting children and family services throughout Arizona and has distributed more than $21 million to local non-profits and organizations in need.  The entire Suns organization has embedded itself locally by supporting community efforts through hundreds of player appearances and thousands of volunteer hours by Suns players and staff.

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